Apr 25, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher James McDonald (53) delivers to the plate during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates: Has James McDonald’s time run out?


With the Pittsburgh Pirates starting rotation in shambles due to injury, James McDonald had a golden opportunity to work himself right back into the mix as he is attempting to work his way back to the major league roster.

That’s something that J-Mac has failed to capitalize on.

Apr 25, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher James McDonald (53) in the dugout after being pulled during the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

With McDonald struggling to find consistency in his rehab starts, which has always been his problem, it begs the question of if McDonald’s time with the Pirates has all but run out?

But with him struggling as a starter, the only real option remaining could be to turn him into a reliever. That’s something that Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington very well could be considering.

“As the clock ticks, we’ll have to make the determination of where James best fits on this club,” Huntington told the Tribune Review’s Travis Sawchik.

While consistency is likely to always be a problem for J-Mac, another concern is the dip in velocity.

McDonald’s fastball was often clocked in the 89-91 mph range during his latest rehab start. Last season he averaged 92 with his heater.

That alone could lead the Pirates to shut McDonald down for a while, but that isn’t likely to happen.

Unfortunately Huntington has to make a decision on J-Mac and make it very soon.

While the pen could be an option, it may not be the smartest move to add a struggling arm to a very effective bullpen.

What the final result could be is the end of J-Mac in a Pirates uniform.

If that’s the case, it’s a sad thing because based on talent alone, McDonald is the Pirates most talented pitcher not named Gerrit Cole.

It’s too bad he hasn’t been able to figure things out, being that he has had all the opportunities in the world.

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Tags: James McDonald Neal Huntington Pittsburgh Pirates

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